News Features

Workshop on the prosecution of illegal traffic helps assess challenges in enforcing the Basel Convention
Legal responses to illegal traffic found to have merit, but opinions diverge on their effectiveness.  

Workshop on the prosecution of illegal traffic helps assess challenges in enforcing the Basel Convention

Workshop on the prosecution of illegal traffic helps assess challenges in enforcing the Basel Convention

The workshop for Central and South America on the prosecution of illegal traffic of hazardous wastes under the Basel Convention was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 28 to 29 August 2013.

The workshop provided training for prosecutors, law enforcement experts and lawyers, based on the Basel Convention's instruction manual on the prosecution of illegal traffic in hazardous wastes.  Prosecutors and legal officers from 13 countries attended the event, including officers from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

They were joined by Experts from the European Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of environmental Law (IMPEL) Cluster Transfrontier shipment of waste (TFS) Environmental Prosecutors Network, Latin American Environmental Prosecutors Network (LAEPN), UNEP Regional Office for Latin American Countries (ROLAC), Interpol and the CITES Secretariat. 

The workshop was organized by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and the Basel Convention Regional Center – Argentina.

Among the challenges identified were weaknesses in the national legal and institutional frameworks, such as incomplete implementing legislation  – lack of a clear definition of the crime, of adequate penalties and of clear procedures. Participants felt that the various legal responses to illegal traffic  – administrative, civil, criminal, alternative dispute resolution, each have their own merit, however opinions diverged with respect to their respective effectiveness.  The need for clarity as to when a specific procedure may be initiated and on the relationship between the various procedures (parallel, successive, alternative) was also highlighted.

Participants underscored that cases of illegal traffic are complex and require substantial capacity: an improper investigation can mean that a case cannot ultimately be brought forward. Therefore, besides training, participants called for access to adequate resources, for instance laboratories to identify wastes, and access to technical knowledge.

Finally, cooperation at the national level was identified as a challenge and the establishment of interagency teams involving all relevant agencies was suggested.

Based on real cases, participants also explored the practical and legal challenges in preparing a case for prosecution in particular with respect to the distinction between waste and non-waste, and the need for developing a common understanding of this distinction. Issues of jurisdiction (which State prosecutes and for which offense?) were also discussed, as well as the challenges associated with the take back of illegal shipments.

A first workshop had been held in Bratislava in June 2012 for prosecutors from Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia countries.

The series of workshops are funded through the European Union under the Thematic Programme for Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources including Energy (ENRTP).

 

E-waste at the ITU Green Standards Week
A Forum on Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste examines best practice for designing e-waste management systems, Madrid, Spain, 16 September 2013.  

E-waste at the ITU Green Standards Week

E-waste at the ITU Green Standards Week

In the context of the ITU Green Standards Week, the UNEP Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions together with ITU, UNU, and CEDARE is organizing on 16 September 2013 a one-day Forum on Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste.

The Green Standards Week is organized by ITU from 16 to 20 September 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  Hosted by Telefónica, it will bring together leading specialists in the field, from top policy-makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts and others.

The main purpose of the E-waste Forum is to discuss the quantification and qualification of the e-waste challenge, the role of policies, standards and regulations and best practices for designing e-waste management systems.

Download the Green Standards Week brochure.

For further information, see: http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/Workshops-and-Seminars/gsw/201309/Pages/programme-16-Sep.aspx

 

Report of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention released
An advance copy of the Basel Convention COP-11 report is available in English.  

Report of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention released

Report of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention released

An advance copy of the Basel Convention COP-11 report is available in English.

 

Regional Fair accents "Synergies through regional delivery"
The Regional Fair Roundtable ‘Synergies through regional delivery’ examines barrier and opportunities to enhance delivery of services to parties at regional and national level.

Regional Fair accents "Synergies through regional delivery"

Regional Fair accents "Synergies through regional delivery"

Conferences' presidents Franz Perrez, Magdalena Balicka and Osvaldo Álvarez-Pérez will inaugurate the Regional Fair dedicated to ‘Synergies through regional delivery’ on Wednesday evening, 1 May, kicking off three days of activities of the theme at the 2013 COPs.

The Fair's inaugural ceremony will take place on 1 May at 6:15 p.m. in the CICG exhibition area.

The main aim of the Regional Fair is to enhance the relation between the regional centres, donors and countries served by the centres, highlight the capacity building activities and projects of the regional centres and demonstrate what expertise, capacities the regional centres have which could be mobilized to assist Parties in the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Immediately after the opening ceremony, the Regional Fair Roundtable will be held to explore synergies through regional delivery. Panelists will be invited to discuss any barriers to permitting regional centres to serve parties in implementing all three convention; opportunities for enhancing cooperation between centres and with regional offices of UNEP and FAO; and how to secure long-term financing and support for achieving the 2020 goal of sound management of chemicals and wastes.

The Panelists for the Roundtable are:

  • Ms. Jill Hanna, European Commission;
  • Ms. Fiorella Leon, Peru;
  • Prof. Oladele Osibanjo, Director, Basel Convention Regional Centre for the African Region;
  • Dr. Jinhui Li, Executive Director, Basel Convention Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific/Stockholm Regional Centre in China;
  • Mr. Ibahim Sow, Secretariat of the Global Environment Facility.

Ms. Maria Cristina Cardenas, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, will introduce the topic for discussion; and Mr. Michael Jones, Secretariat, will moderate the panel.

The Regional Fair will conclude with an awards ceremony at 6:15 p.m. on 3 May.

The tentative schedule of side events includes further information on Regional Fair side events.

Download the Basel and Stockholm conventions Regional Centres and FAO, UNEP regional offices brochure.

Download the Regional Fair Programme

New study investigates cost effective, environmentally sound alternatives to beaching method of ship recycling
A feasibility study identifies cost effective, environmentally sound alternatives to the beaching method of ship recycling.  

New study investigates cost effective, environmentally sound alternatives to beaching method of ship recycling

New study investigates cost effective, environmentally sound alternatives to beaching method of ship recycling

A feasibility study, commissioned by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and funded by the European Commission, identifies cost effective, environmentally sound alternatives to the beaching method of ship recycling.

The study builds on the findings of a case study, also commissioned by the Secretariat in 2012, which identified the operational, procedural and infrastructural requirements for existing facilities to work towards compliance with the Basel Convention and the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

Taken together, these studies aim to assist stakeholders involved in the industry to ensure the principles of environmentally sound management are upheld in the context of ship recycling.

Data visualization tool puts hazardous waste data at your fingertips
The Basel Convention data visualization tool shows interactively data provided by the Parties on generation and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes.  

Data visualization tool puts hazardous waste data at your fingertips

Data visualization tool puts hazardous waste data at your fingertips

This data visualization tool was created to show, in an interactive way, data provided by the Parties to the Basel Convention on generation and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes. It contains data for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The tool is fully compatible with Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. The Secretariat is working to make it also compatible with other browsers.
There is a video tutorial available in case you need help to understand how the tool works.

View interactive tool

Should you come across any issue or erroneous data while using this site, please report it to: sbc_natrep@unep.org

Disclaimer: This tool and data is based on information transmitted in reports transmitted by Parties to the Basel Convention. The data provides an indication of trends and activities but must be carefully interpreted.

Acknowledgement: we would like to thank the United Nations Office at Geneva – Information and Communication Technology Service (UNOG-ICTS) for their collaboration in the development of this tool.

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions adopts standardized e-mail addresses
Staff members of the Secretariat have new standardized e-mail addresses.  

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions adopts standardized e-mail addresses

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions adopts standardized e-mail addresses

As of 15 April 2013, each of our staff members have been assigned a new e-mail address in the standard format firstname.lastname@brsmeas.org. This new format applies to all members of the Secretariat, independently of whether staff are hosted by UNEP or FAO.

In addition to this standardized address, the UNEP staff will continue using e-mail addresses in the format firstname.lastname@unep.org and the FAO staff will continue using e-mail address in the FAO format firstname.lastname@fao.org.

The e-mail addresses in the pic.int and pops.int formats will continue to be functional for six months, to facilitate the transition to the new addresses. Rest assured that messages sent to our former addresses will still be delivered.

Afghanistan ratifies the Basel Convention
The number of Parties to the Convention rises to 180.  

Afghanistan ratifies the Basel Convention

Afghanistan ratifies the Basel Convention

Afghanistan has ratified the Basel Convention, depositing its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 25 March 2013. The Convention will enter into force for Afghanistan on 23 June 2013 in accordance with article 25 (2) of the Convention.

Afghanistan’s action raises the number of Parties to the Basel Convention to 180.

More information is available from Status of Ratifications.

New agenda seeks to transform e-waste into opportunity
Sustainable business models key to waste reduction.  

New agenda seeks to transform e-waste into opportunity

New agenda seeks to transform e-waste into opportunity

Sustainable business models key to waste reduction.

Geneva, 2 April 2013 – Representatives of Central American governments, private companies, universities and non-governmental organizations  have agreed on a 20-point Agenda aiming to promote advances in the handling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE or ”e-waste”) in the region. Key will be the application and identification of business models that leverage recycling opportunities and create new employment.

The new Agenda was agreed by the 86 participants in the ITU/UNEP Workshop for Capacity Building on Environmentally Responsible Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), organized in San Salvador, March 19-21 with the support of ITU Sector Member Telefónica.

The Agenda emphasizes increased collaboration between all parties, as well as the development of online learning programmes and workshops aimed at policy-makers. It calls on ITU and UNEP/PACE to assist Central America and the Caribbean in the development of regulations, legislation and international standards to mitigate e-waste’s potentially damaging effects on the environment and the health of local populations.

Electronic devices can contain up to 60 different chemical elements. But deficiencies in collection methods, recycling technologies and illegal dumping mean the majority of these valuable resources are lost when equipment reaches end-of-life.

The failure to close the loop on e-waste leads not only to adverse environmental impacts, but also to the depletion of a potentially valuable resource base of ‘secondary equipment’.

Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of ITU, explains that “The e-waste challenge will be met by combining effective legislation with incentives to develop business and employment opportunities to maximize the lifespan of these valuable finite natural resources. Capacity building and technology transfer to developing countries, along with the implementation of international standards, will be key to reducing waste and pollution, in parallel with the creation of sustainable business models.”

Workshop participants reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, while also recognizing the importance of ITU Resolution 79 on “The role of telecommunications / information and communication technology in handling and controlling e-waste from telecommunication and information technology equipment and methods of treating it” adopted by the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Dubai, 2012). This resolution urges ITU to develop activities related to capacity building and the implementation of recommendations, methodologies and other publications on the responsible management of e-waste.

Speaking at the opening of the Workshop, Vice-Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of El Salvador, Ms Lina Pohl, said: “WEEE is a topic of high relevance to this region and the world. We need to act now, before it becomes an ‘unstoppable waste tsunami’ that causes irreversible damage to our health and environment.”

“The Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD) is very thankful for this important contribution and happily offers to promote this Agenda and its model of cross-cutting integration of efforts amongst environment, health and telecommunication authorities, private sector and civil society,” said Mr. Nelson Trejo, Executive Secretary of CCAD, at the inauguration of the workshop.

“If we tap into the potential of wide public-private sector partnerships to promote environmentally sound management of WEEE, we will be able to create a vibrant green economy, while reducing poverty, health hazards and risks, climate change and the pressure on our non-renewable resource base,” said Mr. Miguel Araujo, Director of the Basel Convention Regional Center for Central America and Mexico (BCRC-CAM).

Note to media

The Workshop for Capacity Building on Environmentally Responsible Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment was jointly organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); the Secretariat of the Basel Convention administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), through the Basel Convention Regional Center for Central America and Mexico (BCRC-CAM); in cooperation with the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE) established under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal; the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD); and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of El Salvador (MARN).

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Sarah Parkes
Chief, Media Relations & Public Information ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 6039
E-mail: pressinfo@itu.int  

Mr. Toby Johnson
Senior Communications Officer
Tel: +41 22 730 5877
Mobile: +41 79 249 4868
E-mail: toby.johnson@itu.int

 

Avoiding e-waste: Sustainable life-cycle management of ICT equipment
Join the session on best practices and policies on environmentally sound management of used and end-of-life ICT equipment, World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 10-year Review, 26 February 2013, 16:05-17:30 Register  

Avoiding e-waste: Sustainable life-cycle management of ICT equipment

Avoiding e-waste: Sustainable life-cycle management of ICT equipment

Join the session on best practices and policies on environmentally sound management of used and end-of-life ICT equipment, World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 10-year Review, 26 February 2013, 16:05-17:30 Register

 

Basel Convention Technical Expert Group develops framework for environmentally sound management of wastes
The Technical Expert Group of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal completed a framework for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of hazardous wastes and other wastes at its third meeting, held from 21 to 23 January 2013, in Glion, Switzerland. The framework establishes a common understanding of what ESM encompasses and identifies tools and strategies to support and promote the implementation of ESM. It is intended as a prac...

Basel Convention Technical Expert Group develops framework for environmentally sound management of wastes

Basel Convention Technical Expert Group develops framework for environmentally sound management of wastes

The Technical Expert Group of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal completed a framework for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of hazardous wastes and other wastes at its third meeting, held from 21 to 23 January 2013, in Glion, Switzerland.

The framework establishes a common understanding of what ESM encompasses and identifies tools and strategies to support and promote the implementation of ESM. It is intended as a practical guide for all stakeholders participating in the management of hazardous wastes and other wastes.

The framework will be considered and possibly adopted at the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP 11) in April 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland.

"The politics of e-waste:  A cadmium lining", from The Economist (26 January 2013)
International efforts to regulate the trade in waste revolve around the Basel Convention. (Photo: Kai Loeffelbein)  

"The politics of e-waste: A cadmium lining", from The Economist (26 January 2013)

"The politics of e-waste:  A cadmium lining", from The Economist (26 January 2013)

International efforts to regulate the trade in waste revolve around the Basel Convention. (Photo: Kai Loeffelbein)

 

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013
From the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions  

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013

From the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013
The Technical Expert Group fleshed out the scope of a new framework for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes at its second meeting, held from 30 September to 2 October 2012, in Geneva.  The framework is intended as a practical guide for all stakeholders participating in the management of hazardous and other wastes.   

Technical Expert Group works to develop framework for environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes

The Technical Expert Group mandated to develop a framework for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of hazardous wastes and other wastes fleshed out the scope, objectives and guiding principles of the new framework at its second meeting, held from 30 September to 2 October 2012, in Geneva.

Twenty-four of the 30 international experts nominated by Parties were joined by 18 observers to continue work on the framework that was initiated in Tokyo in April 2012.

The Group agreed that the framework is intended as a practical guide for all stakeholders participating in the management of hazardous and other wastes.  The framework will establish a common understanding of the elements of ESM through the provision of standards, criteria andguidelines, define tools to support and promote their implementation and identify strategies to overcome challenges.

The Group discussed what are the main challenges related to the implementation of ESM, among them ensuring a uniform interpretation of ESM, tackling the vexing problem of illegal traffic and ensuring the development of adequate national capacity for ESM. 

One further meeting will be held (scheduled from 21 to 23 January 2013 in Glion, outside of  Montreux, Switzerland) to further progress the development of the framework which will be considered and possibly adopted at COP 11 of the Basel Convention in April 2013.

Implementation and Compliance Committee works through parties’ difficulties in complying with national reporting obligations
ICC approves compliance action plans and allocates funding from Basel Convention implementation fund.

Implementation and Compliance Committee works through parties’ difficulties in complying with national reporting obligations

Implementation and Compliance Committee works through parties’ difficulties in complying with national reporting obligations

The ninth meeting of the Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee took place on 8-9 November 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Following consideration of nine specific submissions, the Committee adopted decisions aimed at resolving each Party's difficulties in implementing and complying with its national reporting obligation. In two of these instances (Bhutan and Togo), the ICC took the unprecedented step of approving compliance action plans and allocated funding from the Basel Convention implementation fund (up to USD 50’000.- each) to undertake activities listed therein. The ICC also considered general issues of implementation and compliance and agreed on conclusions and recommendations pertaining to national legislation, national reporting, illegal traffic, inventories, the control system, as well as insurance, bond and guarantees.

The meeting was chaired by Ms Jimena Nieto (Colombia) and welcomed the attendance of 13 Committee members, three Parties concerned by a specific submission, namely Oman, Bhutan and Togo, as well as a representative of Switzerland in its capacity as President of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties.

More

Co-processing of selected waste streams in properly controlled cement kilns provides energy, material recovery and cost effective options for industry and waste generators
Technical guidelines on environmentally sound co-processing of hazardous wastes in cement kilns adopted by the Parties to the Basel Convention at COP10 are available in English, French and Spanish

Co-processing of selected waste streams in properly controlled cement kilns provides energy, material recovery and cost effective options for industry and waste generators

Co-processing of selected waste streams in properly controlled cement kilns provides energy, material recovery and cost effective options for industry and waste generators
 
Meeting of Enforcement Networks
As a follow up to the CLI decision requesting the Secretariat to promote cooperation between existing enforcement networks, a meeting of enforcement networks and enforcement organizations hosting enforcement networks was held on 2-3 October 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland.  

Meeting of Enforcement Networks

Meeting of Enforcement Networks

As a follow up to the CLI decision requesting the Secretariat to promote cooperation between existing enforcement networks, a meeting of enforcement networks and enforcement organizations hosting enforcement networks was held on 2-3 October 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Eighth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (OEWG 8)
Geneva, Switzerland, 25 - 28 September 2012. Documents pertaining to the meeting will be posted on the Basel Convention website as they become available.

Eighth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (OEWG 8)

Eighth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (OEWG 8)

Geneva, Switzerland, 25 - 28 September 2012.

Documents pertaining to the meeting as well as additional information will be posted on the Basel Convention website as they become available.

Joint meetings of the Basel and Stockholm convention regional centres and FAO and UNEP regional offices
The meeting of the Basel and Stockholm convention regional centres was held from 1 to 2 Oct 2012, followed by a joint meeting with FAO and UNEP regional offices on 3 Oct 2012.  

Joint meetings of the Basel and Stockholm convention regional centres and FAO and UNEP regional offices

Joint meetings of the Basel and Stockholm convention regional centres and FAO and UNEP regional offices

The meeting of the Basel and Stockholm convention regional centres was held from 1 to 2 Oct 2012, followed by a joint meeting with FAO and UNEP regional offices on 3 Oct 2012.

 

Expanded Bureau agrees to COP-11 provisional agenda
Expanded Bureau makes preparations for upcoming ordinary and extraordinary meetings of the Conference of the Parties.  

Expanded Bureau agrees to COP-11 provisional agenda

Expanded Bureau agrees to COP-11 provisional agenda

Expanded Bureau makes preparations for upcoming ordinary and extraordinary meetings of the Conference of the Parties.

 

Technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes with mercury
The technical guidelines to properly manage wastes consisting of elemental mercury and wastes containing or contaminated with mercury aim to protect human health and the environment.  

Technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes with mercury

Technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes with mercury

The technical guidelines to properly manage wastes consisting of elemental mercury and wastes containing or contaminated with mercury aim to protect human health and the environment.

 

The Working Group will consider several scientific and technical, legal and strategic matters, including the development of the technical guidelines on transboundary movement of e-waste, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste; development of the technical guidelines on persistent organic pollutants; and the proposals for new entries to the list of wastes contained in Annex IX to the Basel Convention submitted by Finland, Ireland, and the Netherlands.  

Basel Convention Open-ended Working Group to review framework for environmental sound management of wastes

The eighth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention is being held from 25 to 28 September 2012 at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG), in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Open-ended Working Group keeps under continuous review the implementation of the Convention’s work plan, specific operational policies and decisions taken by the Conference of the Parties for the implementation of the Convention. It meets once every two years.

The Working Group will consider several scientific and technical, legal and strategic matters, including the development of the technical guidelines on transboundary movement of e-waste, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste; development of the technical guidelines on persistent organic pollutants; and the proposals for new entries to the list of wastes contained in Annex IX to the Basel Convention submitted by Finland, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

As a follow-up to the Indonesian-Swiss country-led initiative to improve the effectiveness of the Basel Convention adopted at COP10 of the Convention, a progress report on the development of guidelines for environmentally sound management of waste will be provided, and the report on the interpretation of certain terminology to provide further legal clarity will be considered.

The outcomes of the meeting will help set the stage for the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, which will be held back-to-back with the conferences of the parties to the Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions during a two-week period from 28 April to 10 May 2013 in Geneva. These back-to-back conferences will be held for the first time in tandem with an extra-ordinary meeting of the conferences of the parties charged with solidifying synergies among the three conventions.

Concern over ship dismantling practices prompts capacity building initiatives
The benefits of ship dismantling, or recycling, derive from the materials and equipment comprising end-of-life ships, whose scrap steel, mechanical parts and other valuable equipment are recycled or refurbished for use in other industries. End-of-life ships also comprise of an array of hazardous materials – such as asbestos, PCB and waste oils – which can have serious implications for the environment and human health if not managed properly.   

Concern over ship dismantling practices prompts capacity building initiatives

Concern over ship dismantling practices prompts capacity building initiatives

The benefits of ship dismantling, or recycling, derive from the materials and equipment comprising end-of-life ships, whose scrap steel, mechanical parts and other valuable equipment are recycled or refurbished for use in other industries. End-of-life ships also comprise of an array of hazardous materials – such as asbestos, PCB and waste oils – which can have serious implications for the environment and human health if not managed properly. 

Concern has been expressed at the international level over the environmental, health and safety standards in this industry, particularly in those countries employing the beaching method of ship recycling.  Ship recycling commonly takes place in developing countries which tend to have a competitive advantage as they provide a pool of low cost labour, may have weaker environmental protection / worker health and safety regulations, and have national demand for the outputs of the activity (predominantly scrap steel). Poor enforcement of regulations relating to this activity means that problems with local environmental pollution are commonplace and incidents of worker injury and fatality are high. These concerns are compounded given the upward trend in recycling activity experienced in the past few years. 

The Basel Convention has been involved in the issue of ship dismantling for over a decade and works at the policy and technical levels and through its capacity building programme toward improving environmental, health and safety standards in this important industry.

UN report graphs global waste challenges
Vital Waste Graphics 3 charts global trends and sheds light on the obstacles that prevent the practical implementation of waste minimization, recycling and resource recovery.  

UN report graphs global waste challenges

UN report graphs global waste challenges

A new report, Vital Waste Graphics 3, charts global trends and sheds light on the obstacles that prevent the practical implementation of policies to promote waste minimization, recycling and resource recovery. 

Vital Waste Graphics 3 covers a wide-range of waste-related topics, including preventive tools for wastes; the market for clean-up and treatment of hazardous waste and recycling of scrap metals; biogas and compost; solid waste management; waste external costs to health, biodiversity, climate change, and land use; producer and consumer responsibility; food waste; green procurement; disasters and waste; waste crime and illegal traffic. 

The report’s message is presented through more than 70 charts and graphs that reveal, explain and communicate connections between the environment and society.  

Vital Waste Graphics 3 draws and maps a broader vision of the present and for the future, in order to raise awareness of the costs and consequences of generating waste, and the opportunities of minimizing and managing it in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

Already, the livelihoods of 15 million people worldwide – and one to two percent of the urban population in some developing countries – depend on waste picking or the scavenging of waste.  Protective measures for waste workers and nearby inhabitants, pollution control systems and risk mitigation measures are often insufficient in low-income countries.

Manufacturing products according to “green design” principles which integrate environmental and health considerations into their design, improved product labeling and certification of waste are among the measures that could protect health and environment, boost recycling rates, and contribute to turning waste into revenue and resources for other economic activities.

Vital Waste Graphics 3 is available here.

 

Basel joins the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development
The UNEP Secretariat of the Basel Convention is pleased to announce that it is joining the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.

Basel joins the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development

Basel joins the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development

Port Louis, Mauritius (7 December 2011) – The UNEP Secretariat of the Basel Convention is pleased to announce that it is joining the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.  

In a statement issued on the opening day of  the International Telecommunication Union’s World Telecommunications/ICT Indicators Meeting  on 7 December 2011, Mr Torbjorn Fredriksson, Chief of the ICT Analysis Section of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said,

“The inclusion of the Basel Convention Secretariat is particularly valuable at a time when growing attention is being paid to the measurement of the environmental implications for ICT, such as the growth of electronic waste “ said the current chair of the Partnership Steering Committee.

“The Secretariat of the Basel Convention will bring to the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development its expertise and experience with e-waste issues on global level, its network of national and international institutions, academics, industry and civil society,” commented Mr Matthias Kern, who will be representing the Basel Convention Secretariat in the Partnership.

“Measuring e-waste is one of the emerging topics we are exploring at this year’s World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Meeting. I am extremely pleased to announce the new membership of the UNEP Secretariat of the Basel Convention at this occasion,” said Ms Susan Teltscher, Head of ITU’s ICT Data and Statistics Division.

ITU, the Basel Convention  Secretariat and the United Nations University are conducting a joint online survey on e-waste – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ewastesurvey2011 – through 31 January 2012.

 

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